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The Cloud Speaks on the Subject of ‘The Toll’ 

The terrible life events we must all endure at one time or another do not always make us stronger, or weaker for that matter; they change the inner shape of us, cut off corners, create spikes, sinewy stakes that accrete and damn where a fluid calm once flowed. Rips like tooth-torn cotton in tatters we stare at blankly — take in whenever we dare do so.

‘How do you carry on!’ exclaim the uninitiated, as though we have a choice in the inexorable mechanics of it all. Their time will come.

Such provocative trials are why certain people can appear almost unrecognisable in nature after a lapse of only a few years, sometimes just weeks: the toll; it isn’t simply a process of maturation — if only it were that gentle an unfolding. No, the hardest part is looking largely the same person on the outside, whilst within we have been butchered, our vital forces in part eviscerated.

Then we get up,
Make a coffee,
Chop wood,
Carry water; eyes raised,
Once more we revert
To our quotidian round
And do just that
Which it demands of us:

We carry on.